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Americas: Meat brands must be trustworthy, finds report

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The huge meat market in the US is projected to grow steadily over the next years, driven by the increasing popularity of private label and frozen meat products.

However, new brands must establish themselves as being trustworthy and reliable, finds a Canadean report entitled Consumer and Market Insights: Meat Market in the US.

Canadean says the US meat market was valued at approximately US$68 billion in 2013 and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 1.7% to reach close to US$84 billion by 2018.

Fresh meat continues to lead the meat market in the country, accounting for more than a quarter of the market volume in 2013.

This can be attributed to a rising preference for fresh produce, especially among older consumers.

However, products such as frozen meat that can be bought in bulk and preserved for long periods of time also appeal to a large number of consumers.

In 2013, the US frozen food market was valued at US$18 billion and is forecast to grow to reach US$22 billion by 2018, making up more than half of the value of the global frozen food market, expected to lie at US$43 billion in 2018.

“Consumers are showing less brand and product loyalty, switching to alternatives they see as providing better value for money,” says analyst Safwan Kotwal.

“Although fresh meat continues to sell well, processed foods have been growing in popularity over the past decade due to their affordability and convenience.”

“Fresh meat manufacturers must ensure that they keep the price of their meat competitive in order to continue to appeal to value-conscious consumers.”

Trust issues with private label meat

Private label meat products have proved fruitful for retailers’ brands and further undermine the fresh meat market.

Non-branded meat is generally priced lower than branded products, thus appealing to consumers on a budget.

Having said this, manufacturers need to address consumers’ concerns with regard to trust and ethics.

“Global meat scandals have tightened the screw on this market, leaving consumers angry and somewhat confused, leading to demand for greater transparency,” says Kotwal.

Consumers associate meat from free-roaming animals with better taste and organic certification with products free from ‘bad’ ingredients.

Displaying credible food certifications on the package will enhance the perception of the product as being of higher quality.